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Bitty & Beau's Coffee brewing opportunities for people with disabilities

Bethlehem coffee shop one of many helping people with disabilities
Bethlehem coffee shop one of many helping people with disabilities 03:08

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (CBS) -- Something more than just coffee is being brewed at Bitty & Beau's Coffee in Bethlehem -- just step inside. The local coffee shop is celebrating the ability in disability by trying to change one of the biggest challenges the community faces: employment.

Caitlin, Tess, Kyle and Carlee know how to get customers out of their seats.

"My favorite drink is strawberry mocha latte," Caitlin said.

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Besides sharing with us her favorite coffee flavor, Caitlin will also point out her favorite merch that challenges those first impressions.

"My favorite is 'Leave your doubt at the door,'" Caitlin said.

The Bethlehem store is one of 20 locations across 12 states that employ hundreds with disabilities across the United States.

The Bitty and Beau brand was first launched by Amy and Ben Wright in Wilmington, North Carolina. It was named after their two youngest children.

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Always the protective mamma bear, Wright was scared at first.

"When Beau, our oldest, was born, we were paralyzed with fear," Wright said. "We started thinking about, what did his future look like? Would he ever be able to talk or walk or drive a car? While there were a lot of tears shed when Bitty was born, it wasn't because we were sad or scared, we were just overjoyed because we were having a second child with Down syndrome. We knew what that was, and we were prepared."

The Wrights discovered over 80% of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are unemployed nationwide. Their mission then came into focus.

"Every shop we open becomes a portal for guests to see what's possible when you employ people with disabilities," Wright said.     

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"I am a drink maker here at Bitty and Beau's," Kyle said.

Like Caitlin, Kyle was one of the first hires when the Bethlehem shop opened in November 2021.

This place is so much more than a coffee shop.

It's giving a chance to so many who may have been overlooked to shine while serving up a cup or two of joe. 

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